|Back to Index||
GOSPEL ADDRESSES ON THE TABERNACLE.
By David Little
"And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, ....
.. Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them."- Ex. 25:1, 8.)
NOW there are three questions I want to ask, and then answer from the word of God.
First: To a people who bad been slaves to Pharaoh, king of Egypt; who knew what it was to be under the taskmaster's whip from morning until night; who were brought to groan and sigh and weep because of it, and who felt their inability to deliver themselves; who, through their blinding tears, could cry out, Is there no eye to pity? Is there no arm strong enough to save? Moreover, a people who were in a condition altogether unfit for Jehovah to come and dwell among them, and who must be brought to know it, to realize it. Then, when bowed down under it all, feeling keenly their absolute helplessness as well as their unfitness, "They cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning." He had pity upon them and said, "I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows, and I am come down to deliver them." Look at those four beautiful expressions: "J have seen their affliction," "f have heard their cry, "I know their sorrows," and "J am come down to deliver them." Oh, what grace on Jehovah's part! It was their need and their sense of it that opened a way for Jehovah to display His grace, power, and glory, in their behalf.
A few years ago, when the fire in Chicago had sent thousands out homeless and penniless, their condition drew out the sympathy of the civilized world, who came forward and ministered of their substance.
It was our intense need and helplessness that drew out God's pity and love. Oh, what slaves we were! Slaves to our lusts and passions, slaves to the world and Satan. Listen to the voice of inspiration: "For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another." (Titus iii. 3.) What a sad picture! Yet it is a true picture of men in their unsaved state. My friend, if you are away from Christ, in your sins, it is your picture God, who knows you thor6ughly, has drawn it with an unerring hand. It is a fact in God's Word, and an undeniable fact in your life.
Your heart is stirred with pity for these poor slaves in Egypt as you hear the crack of the taskmaster's whip, as you hear their groans, see their tears; but, let me tell you, your own state 15 a thousand times more pitiable than theirs.. You are under a worse tyrant than Pharaoh, sin-that evil nature within you-which sways its tyrannical scepter over all your powers. "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" (Rom. vi. 16.) They yielded themselves to Pharaoh to serve him, being compelled to do so. You have yielded yourself to sin, to serve it willingly; and now it has full control of all your powers. Yes, it reigns supreme, sits as king, an absolute monarch using all the members of your body to the exaltation of itself. Oh, stop and think what the end is going to be-Death. Notice that expression, "unto death"; and "After this the Judgment." Yes, sin reigns unto death in your mortal body-" the wages of sin is death." What terrible wages! Oh, unsaved soul, look at your wages; count them carefully in the presence of God, and ask yourself the question-Is this all I am going to receive for all my service to sin? Is this all my master has to give? It is all you get under that master.
But these people knew they were slaves, and now longed, groaned, sighed, and cried, for deliverance. As ever it does, that cry came up before Jehovah, and so He said, "I have heard their cry,... and Jam come down to deliver them." Deliver themselves they could not: they were absolutely helpless. A man once said to me, with tears in his eyes, "I know by my own experience there is one passage of Scripture true: the one which says that the unsaved are caught in the snare of the devil, and are taken captives by him at his will. I have tried to stop swearing, and to control my temper; I have tried to stop drinking, and to be kind to my family: but no matter how often I resolve, I break through all my good resolutions, and I am a poor, helpless slave to sin." I pointed him to Christ as a Saviour: that night, about midnight, he aroused me, saying, "I want you to get up and pray for me; for if I am not saved, I shall be in hell before morning." Again I pointed him to Christ: he received Him as his Saviour, believed, and got the victory over sin.
Friends, let me get close to you; let me lay my hand on your shoulder, and ask you the question, Do you need a Saviour? do you need a Deliverer?-one who can deliver you out of sin's domain and bring you to Himself? Then listen: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Trust that Blessed One who has come down, down from the heights of glory, down from the Father's house, down from the homage of the heavenly beings, down to a life of persecution and shame, down to the awful agonies of the cross, down to the dark tomb-down to all this to deliver you, to open up a way for you to be brought to God. Oh, can you not trust that hand that was nailed to the cross for you? that heart that was broken with reproach for you ?-yes, that One who was "made sin" for you, who suffered the bitter pangs of an atoning death for you? Trust Him implicitly, and you have everlasting life. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life." (John 3:36.)
Jehovah had come down to deliver the poor slaves; but before they could take one step out of Egypt, one step toward the good land God had for them, one step with God, the one great question between Him and them must be settled-the question of sin. Even so you, before you can take one step with God, one step heavenward, the momentous question of sin between God and you must be settled; your sins must be dealt with and put away-put away in such a manner as to declare that God is not indifferent about them, and at the same time make you feel happy and at home in His presence, having peace with Him. How can two walk together so long as there is a difference between them ?-so long as they are estranged from each other, not reconciled? Impossible. Jehovah had come down to deliver Israel, but He cannot and will not associate Himself with sin. They must learn that the one who has come down to deliver them is the Holy One, and cannot allow sin in His presence. Nine plagues had fallen upon the Egyptians, and Israel had seen these judgments fall upon their enemies; but now the time had come when they must learn to pass judgment upon themselves, and see that, when it was a question of being in God's presence, they were as unfit as the Egyptians. Jehovah was to pass through the land, and the first-born, both of man and beast, Israelite as well as Egyptian, high and low, rich and poor, moral and immoral, all, all were to be slain. Death, the wages of sin, must be meted out to all, if a proper substitute could not be provided.
But God, in grace, told' them of a way of escape. He said, "Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a Iamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house. . . . Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep: . . . and ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month; . . . and kill it in the evening," or, "between the two evenings." The sentence of death had been passed upon all, for all had sinned. The sword was about to be unsheathed and the final blow struck for their emancipation. But they must have the sentence of death in themselves, and they must learn how they can have peace with God concerning their sins. It is only through the blood of the slain lamb.
First: "Without blemish "-type of Christ, God's Lamb, who was always the "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners." John could cry, as his eye rested on that Blessed One, filling the entire vision of his soul, "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world."
Second: "A male of the first year." He must have the preeminence. He is "the first and the last," "the beginning and the ending," "the Alpha and the Omega," in all things pertaining to our salvation. He is a Saviour, not a helper; He must do all the work. God would take us by the hand and lead us to Him and say, "There is the one who has undertaken for you, who has made peace for you. He is my Only begotten: trust Him."
Third: "Taken out the tenth day This speaks of responsibility, and has reference to that part of Christ's life before He entered upon His public ministry. Very little is told us about it, but enough to say that He discharged all His human responsibilities faithfully, both God ward and manward that when He was presented publicly by John the Baptist, He was owned and sealed as the Perfect One, who had passed thirty years in a defiling scene, and, like a sunbeam, had never been defiled by it. Such a one, and only such, was able to become our substitute, to die in our stead.
Fourth: "Ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day." It was kept up four days, corresponding with a meaning attached in Scripture to number four, which is that of testing. Thus do we see the Blessed Lamb of God in all His course here, as shown in the different Gospel, tested-tempted in all points by Satan and by man under the most trying circumstances; yet all this but serving to manifest the absolute perfection shining out in all His looks, words, and ways. He never was made sad by having given an uncalled-for look; He never had to recall a word nor retrace a step. Here is the just one going on to the cross to die for the unjust ones, that He might bring them to God, to make peace with God for us, "through the blood of His cross."
Fifth: The blood must be sprinkled with "a bunch of hyssop" upon the lintel and the door-posts of the houses in which they dwelt. It was above them and on both sides of them as a shelter. The apostate puts it beneath his feet (Heb. 10:29); but the one who flees to it as the only refuge from the coming' judgment has it above and around, to protect him. Oh, what a refuge! what a place of safety!
God says, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you." Mark well these words: He does not say, When I see your tears, sighs, groans, and prayers, I will pass over you. No, nothing can avert God's judgment but "the precious blood of Christ;" nothing can meet the claims of God's justice but the infinite value God sees in the blood of Christ.
There are those who exhort sinners to "make their peace with God." One of these was visiting a Christian who was not expected to live, but who knew the Truth. As he sat beside the sick one he said, "I hope you have made your peace with God." The reply' was, "No, sir, I have not; for that is beyond my power. But I read in the twentieth verse of the first chapter of Colossians that God Himself has made peace for me by the blood of the cross; I am resting in that, and I have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
What a refuge to hide in! The blood for God's eye on the outside, His unchangeable word for their hearts who were inside: "When I see the blood, I will pass over you.
Sixth: The lamb had to be "roasted with fire," and then eaten inside the house: they had to pass in through that blood-sprinkled door before they could feast on the roasted lamb. Christ says, "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." Notice he says, "If any man enter in he shall be saved." There are three words in the word of God that are very sweet td me: "any," "whosoever," and "every. "That He by the .grace of God should taste death for EVERY MAN"; "WHOSOEVER will, let him take of the water of life freely"; and here, If ANY MAN enter in." Oh, come, poor sinner: the door has been thrown open for you,… the blood-sprinkled door. The Father stands ready to receive you; the Holy Spirit is striving with you; all heaven stands ready to rejoice when you enter. Oh, enter, enter now; yes, take now that one step of faith. You may be very near the door, close up to it, and almost persuaded to enter it. Oh, do not falter, do not delay. Christ says, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." Enter, and sit down, and feast on the roasted lamb, and joy, eternal joy, shall be yours: for God says to all who have entered in by Christ, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." It was a roasted lamb, not "sodden with water." The fire must do its terrible work; the wrath of God must be met by that Peerless One on the cross. Listen to Him saying "My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels." (Ps. 22.) What intense suffering was His, that unsearchable riches might be ours!
Seventh: Look at the security of all those who availed themselves of this refuge from the judgment of God: not one was touched. The first-born of man and beast lay cold in death the sword had done its fearful work. Weeping and wailing in every home where the blood was not sprinkled; joy and feasting in every house that was sheltered; all were safe there, whether they had much joy or not. It was not their joy that saved. them; it was the blood, and the blood alone. It was not their faith that saved: faith only enabled them to avail themselves of that which saved; and the more faith they had in God's word within the house, the more joy they had, but all were equally safe. High and low, rich and poor, young and old, all who had faith enough to enter the house, be their faith never so small, were just as safe as those who had a higher degree of faith. Divine faith in the soul always leads the possessor to rest in a divine object. It is much better and safer to have the smallest degree of divine faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, than a faith that can remove mountains in a wrong object. Here are two planks across a stream; the one is a good heavy oak-plank; the other appears good, but is rotten underneath. Here are two men: the one has great faith in the rotten plank, and steps out boldly upon it; there is a crash, a shriek, and he is swept away to death. The other is timid; he puts out his foot very carefully, and, with some reluctance, commits himself to the good plank: but, to his joy, it is solid,- it bears him safe across with his little faith. Oh, friend, is your faith resting upon your feelings, your works, or anything but Christ and His work? If it is, there will be a crash and a shriek presently. Oh, rest on Him alone, and be secure for eternity.